Saturday, December 7, 2013

Te Arai to Music Mountain

A proper stage @ Music Mountain.

More backtracking. It has been so long since I have had the ability to post anything on a computer, it is hard to recollect back so far. Thankfully my clever sister insisted on buying me a waterproof sketch pad to take with me on my journey. For the most part it is full of journal entries and on the back side of the pages random bits of bus schedules, hostel prices and the contact information of travellers I have met along the way. On one side thoughts, on the next, scatters. Essentially though, aren' they one and the same? For now, with as little computer availability as I get, this may just be a series of stories,and the photos might have to follow at a later time, but I will do what I can to share images. So, we celebrated Thanksgiving on a beach at Te Arai Point. Crazy young rif raf partying through the night. Possums chewing through my tent and bag. Pure craziness all around! We rose early, shared a "shitty mocha" to start the day off right and were on our way. In case I haven't already explained, as an added luxury I sometimes have a "coffee" drink in the morning. Why the quotation marks? First, instant coffee, from the eyes of a spoiled snobby ex-barista of ten years, is not coffee. It's like the Easy Cheese of the coffee world. Its a horrid fabrication of the idea of coffee, but when push comes to shove, shove off! I will take it! So I have an old plastic peanut butter jar filled with milo, (an ovaltine-like vitamin fortified chocolate powder), and instant coffee. The day has now officially begun. Leaving Te Arai and heading toward Pakiri (pawkree) Beach we decided once rounding some extension of beach rocks to take a short cut and avoid walking along the beach all day, and cleverly avoiding a river crossing right before the campervan site at days end. The crossing was marked at "waste deep during low tide" and you had to time it just right or else you had to be game for swimming. No one wants to swim with a 30+ pound pack on, let alone risk getting any of their gear more wet than they ever have to. We hiked down some old marked roads, beyond warning tape, warning signs, and what would be the perfect setting for the beginning of any horror movie. I can see it now. 3 dirty backpackers thinking nothing can go wrong, and leisurely strolling on their merry way through a logging site while taking a short cut to the beach. Ominous music playing in the background. We did get a bit turned around, but after several hours made it through the forest and came out to a clearing next to picturesque Tomarata Lake to find two skinny-dipping kiwis enjoying the afternoon sun. Which would also have played nicely into the horror movie scene. We continued along a dirt road several kilometers and passed a section where a DOC trail was suppose to lead off, but somehow we couldn't seem to find it. Eventually we passed over a fence and followed an old farm road, leading off toward where we were inclined to believe was the trails beginning. It wasn't at all!!! We were on someone's private land just walking over hills and giving their livestock something to chew their cud at. When we came to a farm we just stopped to explain the situation to the confused looking land owner. She told us we were not the first people to come tramping through their property. Someone else had done the same thing a week prior. I suppose if you are going to be a fool, its good to know you have company. Our short cut had already taken us near the amount of time it should have taken to trek our entire days travel, and we were only about half way. Today was the day we swore off short cuts forevermore. Hours and hours of walking a dirt road followed. Think about that for a second...hours and hours in scalding sun, dirt road loathing feet and mind , knowing you could have been feet in the sand, swimming in the ocean, tent erected and ready for sleep and relaxing. But eventually we made it. The next morning we rose early and departed by 8:15. It was going to be one of the hottest days yet and the climb was taking us into Omaha Forest. At the peak of Tamahunga Mountain (436m), we rested on a helicopter landing pad. My first thought and statement was "I wish a bluegrass band would magically appear, because this would make an epic dancing platform." A few minutes into our lunchtime lounge session we heard voices through the trees. Two people emerged with a friendly greeting. What a surprise! Encountering people, let alone people not specifically hiking the trek, while on a mountain top had never happened before and was certainly uncommon. Imagine our shock when minutes later more people began rounding the corner and coming up through the forest. One at a time they emerged, repeatedly, until by the end of it there were about 30 hikers all gathered together, resting on a mountain top helicopter pad. And not one fiddle amongst them. Dreamers can dream! The hikers were members of a Meet-Ups group. They just go on weekend hikes. I met one man in particular who had not heard of the Te Araroa, actually, most people I have talked to are unaware that there is a trail that runs the whole length of the country, anyway, this particular gentleman was very excited about the trail as well as my project and ended up playing a very important role later on in my experience here, when a week down the road, he and his wife put me up for a few days at their house, but we will get to that later. We finished the mountains for the day and carried on toward the town of Matakana where we were offered a lift by the first two people who emerged at the top of the mountain for a day hike. We lunched and had an ice cold beverage. More road....and another offer froma local for a ride. Much obliged to skip the road we took him up on his offer. Let out nearer the top of a mountain, we walked several kilometers more with intentions of finding a place to pitch a tent near the start of the next section of the trek so we could wake first thing and conquer the Dome Track which was a hearty series of mountains and turned out to be one of my favorite hikes. We never made it that far though as we were stopped by a man as we walked by his front porch asking us if we were hiking the Te Araroa. Well yes we are. "Ya, I've heard about you and your tattoos," he said. "Would you like a place to stay for the night? I let trampers pitch up in the yard. There are four other groups here already." Welcome to Music Mountain!!! That's literally what this place is called. An old music venue that had been run down many years prior, and recently bought by this couple with every intention of reviving it to its original glory. Hot tub, a mother-in-law house which we were allowed to use for a shower, a terraced back yard with tiki torches to light the way, and a huge professional stage. Apparently we had just missed two nights of music and parties. Drat! Martin, who is a musician, as well as a professional sound and lighting guy, was in heaven. Mouth agape, and very difficult to pull away from this place. Music Mountain, Magic Mountain, call it what you will, it was perfect.
Pestions view overlooking Pakiri Beach

Martin hypnotizing the onlookers

Add caption

My future home!

Matakana bathroom beauties

No comments:

Post a Comment